Are you thinking about a career change but are unsure what you’ll need to make your goals a reality?
Having transferable skills is a key part of embarking on a fresh path, but what are they and how do you list them on your resume?
They’re called “transferable” because you can transfer them from one job to another, or from one setting to another.
The right kind can be the difference between a successful career transition and being stuck in your current position.
In this article, we’ll explain what transferable skills are, how to identify them, and how to list them on a resume.
With this knowledge, you’ll be one step closer to landing your dream job!
- What Are Transferable Skills and Why Are They Important?
- How Many Transferable Skills Are There?
- What Are the Categories of Transferable Skills?
- What Are Transferable Skills Examples?
- What Is the Most Important Transferable Skill?
- How to Identify Transferable Skills
- How Do You Transfer Skills to a New Career?
- Wrapping Up
What Are Transferable Skills and Why Are They Important?
Transferable skills, or portable skills, are picked up throughout your life. Acquiring them is not limited to a specific job, which means you can apply them in various industries and work environments.
They can come in handy when applying for a job with little experience in that field.
For instance, if you’ve learned to communicate effectively as a customer service representative, there’s a high chance you can adapt your experiences to an HR role.
What Are Transferable Skills in Education?
Transferable skills in education are often a blend of soft and hard skills. Soft skills, such as effective communication, complement hard skills like presentation and instructional techniques.
Other common transferable skills for educators are problem-solving, empathy, time management, self-motivation, collaboration, adaptability, and multitasking.
These skills are crucial because educators may find themselves in new situations, such as switching grades, subjects, or even schools, that require adaptability on their part.
What Are Transferable Skills for a CV?
A CV is crucial for highlighting your skills to potential employers. While hard skills such as written communication, math proficiency, and public speaking are impressive, you shouldn’t forget the value of outlining your soft skills.
Traits like emotional intelligence, active listening, and critical thinking can demonstrate your life experiences and how you’ve grown beyond your education and qualifications.
What Are Organizational Transferable Skills?
When it comes to transferable skills in an organizational context, there are a few key abilities that stand out.
These include effective time management, a sharp eye for detail, analytical thinking skills, the ability to prioritize tasks, and the capacity to juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously.
Why Are They Important?
Transferable skills are highly valuable, as they demonstrate to employers that you have what it takes to succeed, even if you don’t have direct experience in the field.
For example, skills like being a reliable team player and knowing how to prioritize tasks for effective workflow can benefit you in any job.
More involved, technical skills – like familiarity with content management systems – have high value and are often in high demand across multiple industries.
Even if you worked in a retail store like Forever 21, you might have picked up more applicable skills than you realize.
How Many Transferable Skills Are There?
Hard and soft skills have broad definitions, meaning that there are hundreds of transferable skills you can leverage.
These range from basic tasks such as sweeping a floor to more sophisticated abilities like navigating Microsoft Suite or Google Workspace.
With so many skills, deciding which ones to showcase on your resume can be overwhelming. So, when it comes to the number of skills to list on a resume, we recommend keeping it under 10.
What Are the Categories of Transferable Skills?
Below are the five most common and popular types of transferable skills:
Communication skills are essential in most, if not all, professions.
Whether you work directly with coworkers, deal with clients, or present information to managers, the capacity to be clear and concise is invaluable.
Research skills range from the ability to cite sources to critical thinking skills.
Some excellent transferable research skills to include on a resume or CV are organization, critical thinking, task definition, and information-seeking strategies.
These skills are highly sought after in diverse sectors, such as education, journalism, and marketing.
3. Human Relations
Human relations skills are similar to communication skills but often revolve around conflict and management.
Many of these showcase your ability to read someone and respond appropriately no matter the setting.
Management skills showcase your ability to lead a team and stay organized. They are similar to human relations but require more assertion on your part.
Transferable management skills mean you have a natural or honed capacity to set boundaries and control a situation when needed.
Problem-solving shows your capacity to adapt and think critically under pressure. It’s all about finding solutions, which shows determination, self-motivation, and other desirable qualities.
What Are Transferable Skills Examples?
To help you craft the skills section of your resume, below are lists of the desirable transferable skills.
Punctuality is vital in any job, as being late is often considered disrespectful. The following skills exemplify punctuality:
- Time management
- Meeting deadlines
As mentioned, conflict resolution is a particularly important skill for managers to possess, but it also makes for better team players and employees.
You can list the following skills to showcase conflict resolution:
- Emotional awareness
- Interpersonal skills
- Active listening
- Mediation and negotiation
Employers want creative employees because they can think outside the box, solve problems, and find new ways to enhance productivity and the overall work environment.
You can showcase your creative skills on a resume by listing the following:
- Critical thinking
Team building is a crucial quality in managers and employees, as a unified team will work more efficiently and maintain a positive work environment.
Some examples of team-building skills are:
- Social Intelligence
Analytical thinking involves assessing a situation and drawing informed conclusions from the available information.
It’s a valuable skill because it allows you to approach problems methodically and creatively, using logic and reasoning to arrive at a viable solution.
You can list different analytical thinking skills, such as:
Mediation is similar to conflict resolution but a more difficult skill to develop. It’s the ability to help two contradictory parties find a mutually acceptable solution to their dispute.
You can present mediation skills by adding these skills to your resume:
- Emotional intelligence
- Social intelligence
- Active listening
What Is the Most Important Transferable Skill?
When it comes to the most important transferable skill, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. After all, employers have different priorities based on the position they’re trying to fill, their industry, and the work environment they cultivate.
However, one skill that’s universally useful in any career is communication. It’s a tough skill to master, but it’s incredibly versatile and can impact any role.
Other transferable skills that are sought after by employers are leadership, teamwork, reliability, and critical thinking. Of course, these skills won’t apply to all positions.
For instance, teamwork may not be relevant if you’re applying for a job that requires you to work independently of others.
And if you’re just starting your career, some employers might be hesitant about your leadership skills. Still, most employers value these transferable skills because they demonstrate initiative and drive.
How to Identify Transferable Skills
If you’re unsure about which transferable skills apply to you, taking time for self-reflection and discussing with others can be helpful.
But don’t worry, as creating a list of your transferable skills isn’t as hard as it sounds!
Ask Your Coworkers and Employer
If you’re struggling to develop a list of transferable skills, reach out to your boss or coworkers, especially if you have a good working relationship.
Since they work with you daily, they may have a unique perspective on your strengths and abilities that you take for granted.
See Which Skills Apply to You
A more systematic way to identify your transferable skills is by browsing lists of skills online. This article is a great place to start, but plenty of other resources can offer inspiration and guidance.
As you review each skill, take a moment to consider whether it is relevant to you or not.
To get a better sense of your strengths and weaknesses, write down some notes about why each skill does or doesn’t apply to you.
If you can think of times when you exemplified these skills, that can help you craft a solid resume, especially if you’re applying for a job that may not seem perfect for you on paper.
Take an Online Assessment
You can take an online assessment, or an aptitude test, to see which skills you possess.
These tests can offer insight into your strengths and weaknesses and are an effective option if you struggle with self-reflection and evaluation.
After answering a few simple questions, mostly about choices you’d make in the workplace and how you behave, the results will typically list your strongest skills and areas that need improvement.
Reflect on Your Work and Skills
Lastly, you can simply reflect on your work ethic and skill set to generate a list of your best transferable skills.
One approach is to start by outlining the hard skills you know you possess. From there, you can work your way towards building up a list of your soft skills.
How Do You Transfer Skills to a New Career?
Researching the industry or role you want to switch to is a crucial first step. Whether you possess soft or hard skills, they should apply to your new position.
For instance, communication skills used at a retail store can transfer to a laboratory setting. Because these skills are enduring, they can make for a smooth transition into a new role or company.
In addition, network with people in the field you’re interested in.
Attending events or joining online communities will build valuable connections and give you insight into how to use your transferable skills to thrive.
Transferable skills can be the key to landing a job, even if you don’t have the exact experience that the position requires.
For example, if you excel in communication and problem-solving, those skills make you a more valuable candidate than someone with relevant experience but weaker transferable skills.
You may have more transferable skills in your arsenal than you may know. Understanding how to identify and highlight them will set you on your path to a successful career transition.
Do you have experience in transferring skills to a new field, or are researching how to showcase them to a potential employer? Let us know in the comments section below!